Ultralight Backpacking Versus Traditional Backpacking
Contrary to what many think, ultralight backpacking is not just about the freedom to hike more miles or to take your whole pack up the mountain with you. It is also about comfort and safety. Backpackers with heavy loads work too hard and threaten their joints too much. Challenges may add to the experience, but why suffer more than is necessary?
The Disadvantages Of Traditional Backpacking
Lack Of Freedom
You can't easily take a side trip up that hill, just to see what is there. If you do it without your pack, you have to go back the same way to get your pack.
It's A Hassle
Putting on and taking off your heavy pack quickly becomes a chore. You start leaving it on even during rest stops, just so you don't have to deal with it.
Backpacking is clearly more tiring with a heavy pack, and you probably won't enjoy yourself as much when you are tired.
Sprained ankles, blistered feet, sore muscles, and back and knee problems are just some of the common consequences of too much weight on your back.
More weight equals slower progress, which means less access to wild places (you can't go as far on your four-day trip), or it means less time to for enjoyable activities, like a swim in a mountain lake, or a relaxing evening in camp.
More injuries, and the inability to move quickly when a storm is coming or an emergency requires you to get to a road, means that backpacking can actually be more dangerous with a heavy load. Add to that the possibility of bad decisions due to tiredness.
The Ultralight Backpacking Alternative
Done the right way, ultralight backpacking gives you more freedom, more comfort, more safety, more enjoyment and less suffering than traditional backpacking. It allows you to move faster, but notice that I say "allows." It doesn't require it. It just gives you the option. That's more freedom.
I have yet to meet or hear about a person who has tried lightweight backpacking for a while, and then gone back to a heavy load. I'm not saying it is for everyone. Bad ankles may require heavy hiking boots, and bad habits may require a big pack to satisfy them. But even a backpacker who needs a pillow and big rectangular sleeping bag, can find these in lighter forms.
You just can't understand the sense of liberation felt by a convert to ultralight backpacking, until you try it yourself. When I, with my eleven-pound pack, walk past overloaded backpackers struggling up steep trails, I remembered being in their place, and I know I am enjoying myself more now.
Misconceptions About Ultralight Backpacking
Lighweight Backpacking Means Sacrifice
Not so. Bring your favorite camera! A lighter load means you can stop to use it more easily. If you leave behind the things you don't need, and bring a lighter backpack, tent, and sleeping bag, you can more easily bring that telephoto lense or whatever is really important to you.
Lighweight Backpacking Is Less Safe
The opposite! Bring all the safety items; a sleeping bag, first aid kit, shelter, water purification, etc. Just bring lighter versions. A light load makes you less likely to lose your balance and fall, or to otherwise injure yourself. It also means faster response to iffy situations.
A note about safety:
It is lagely a matter of knowledge and experience. A trained survivalist will always be safer backpacking with no shelter than a neophyte with the best tent. Learn a little about how to use you equipment properly, or to read the sky for comimg storms, and you can go lighter and safer.
Lightweight Backpacking Is Less Comfortable
Is it less comfortable to have 18 pounds on your back than 50? Is it less comfortable to have an ultralight sleeping bag if it keeps you just as warm? I stopped getting blisters (totally) when I started using running shoes instead of hiking boots. Cut the weight on your back by twenty-five pounds, and you can add back a heavier coat, if that is what you need to be comfortable.
Lightweight Backpacking Is Expensive
Ultralight sleeping bags are expensive. Almost everything else needed for ultralight backpacking can be found for the same price or cheaper than traditional gear. There are many sub-three-pound backpacks under a hundred dollars, for example.
Try it. The first time you are fifteen miles into the day, and you realize that you can easily run up that hill-just to see what is there, you'll know you made the right decision.
Ultralight Backpacks - The Lightest
Why ultralight backpacks? Devotees of ultralight backpacking know you reduce your packweight most by concentrating on the "big three;" backpack, shelter, and sleeping bag. Forget those 6-pound backpacks, 9-pound tents and 5-pound sleeping bags. Reduce that 20 pounds to less than 5, keep the other gear to 5 or 6 pounds, and you can chuck the hot and heavy hiking boots, put on the running shoes, and start enjoying those trails.
San Diego Beach Hikes ? Cardiff to Carlsbad
San Diego offers a bevy of interesting hikes. With the average home price being around $500,000, they better be interesting!
Retired LoWs Do Yuma
Yuma, Arizona. In the winter, it's the best town in America with a year round population of some 50,000 and a winter population of 150,000. We retired LoWs make this a sure stop each winter. If you want to make next winter more fun, come join us!
Old Barney -- A Visit to Barnegat Light, New Jersey
Barnegat Light, NJ is the home to "Old Barney" a historic lighthouse located at the northern tip of Long Beach Island. Long Beach Island, or "LBI" as the vacationing folks like to say, is a narrow island nearly twenty miles long and six miles at sea off the coast of Ocean County, NJ.
Edible Wild Plants For Backpackers
Knowing a few edible wild plants can make your next backpacking trip, or any trip into the wilderness, a lot more enjoyable.
Bird Watching Life Lists ? Keeping A Record
If you're a birder, you want to keep a list of sightings when you bird watch. Your life lists should be kept in a bird watching journal.
Campsite Meal Planning and Recipe
Join the American Hiking Society
Have you taken up hiking as a new form of family recreation? Are you a serious hiker that spends hours on challenging trails?Do you want to find a way to become more involved in hikingacross the nation? Hikers of any background will want to checkout the "American Hiking Society". This society is an allianceof local hiking clubs and provides a wealth of resources andactivities for hikers of any background.
Pigeon Forge Campgrounds
Campgrounds are a perfect Pigeon Forge lodging option for visitors looking to be as close as possible to the great outdoors. Campgrounds in Pigeon Forge are located near the beautiful and majestic Great Smoky Mountains National Park and are still only minutes away from the outlet malls, dining, and music theatres that downtown Pigeon Forge has to offer. There are a variety of campgrounds available, from the campground operated by the national park, to independent campgrounds.
Lake Jipe straddling Tanzania and Kenya
So unknown is this treasure of Lake Jipe not many Tanzanians know of its existence or location. Sandwiched between the Pare mountains and Kilimanjaro this small lake [30 km sq] straddles the border between Kenya and Tanzania. This lake has a many water birds and is one of the few places in East Africa that the Lesser Jacana and Purple Gallinule are common. Also Madagascar Squacco Herron, Black Herron, African Darter and African Skimmer are often seen here.
The Cast of Culture in South Africa
Drive along one of South Africa's scenic strips and you will notice a landscape composed of a backdrop of wide open spaces, blue mountains and blood-red sunsets. These scenes abound, but given the nature of the culture in South Africa, your attention could swiftly switch to a small boy gallantly escorting herds of cattle, end to end, over a rainbow-like walkway crossing one of the largest and busiest highways in South Africa. Culture makes Africa special and aside from beautiful landscapes, this kind of exuberant and contrasting culture in South Africa is what you really should experience.
River Rafting in California
River rafting is a major attraction in California. The most popular California river rafting destination is the mighty American River. The American River begins in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and runs to the Sacramento River. The American River splits into three forks before it converges. The North Fork, the Middle Fork, and the South Fork each offer rafters unique adventures.
Packing a Backpack - A Guide
With so many different designs, packing a backpack will vary considerably. Generally though, the key to packing your backpack is to achieve even weight distribution. Packing your heavy items at the top will pull you backwards ? packing your heavy items near the base will drag you downwards. Therefore ensure that your heavy items are packed relatively in the middle to balance the weight.
Two Person Hammocks ? Snuggle With Your Beau in Style
How many of you take the time to just relax in a hammock? When I even think of a hammock, I just want to fall asleep. A single person hammock is great but two person hammocks are even better. Snuggle up with your beau and watch the clouds role by, or have a picnic included in your outdoor entertaining. The sophistication of a hammock today is like owning casual living furniture. The hammocks of today don't have to be some knots tied together. Hammocks for two enable you to take a little mini-vacation anytime you want. Some styles of interest for this hot trend in casual furniture are:
Taking an Alaskan Cruise ? What to Pack
Packing in general can be a hassle. But when going on an Alaskan cruise, it can be even harder because of the colder weather. Here are some general suggestions to make this task a little easier.
Backyard Camping Trip
Are your kids begging you to take them camping, but you just can't find the time to take them on a camping trip? Or would you like to introduce your kids to the fun of camping for the first time, but aren't sure if they will enjoy it, or might get scared? Either way, camping out in your backyard will be a fun way to spend the evening and night with your kids.
Beach Vacation Photo Tips ? Make Your Vacation AND Photos Memorable
Most people, who go on a family beach vacation, take plenty of photographs. Once you're home and you view or print them out; are you ecstatic, bored, or disappointed? Be honest, now!
Creative Camp Cooking
For most people, outdoor cooking is synonymous with barbeque, but there are many other ways to cook outdoors. If you have been camping, you are probably at least familiar with the portable propane stoves which provide a burner or two similar to the stovetop burners you have at home. In addition, you may have also heard of dutch ovens. However, I am thinking most people who have not been involved in scouting have probably not heard of box ovens.
Stay Out of That Old Mine!
It seems like the most adventurous thing in the world. That dark opening in the hillside beckons, tantalizes, excites. What wondrous treasures await discovery inside? What artifacts might remain in this time capsule, mute testimony to an era when grizzled men moved tons of rock in pursuit of their dreams? Such is the poetic, romance-novel appeal that might induce you to take leave of your senses and crawl into an old mine. Thousands of such small openings are scattered throughout the country. Although most common in the historically "hard rock" Western mining states, they can also be found in the old lead and copper districts of the Midwest. In reality, multiple dangers lurk beyond the pale ring of light that filters through the adit mouth.
Hiking Shoes Versus Hiking Boots
Hiking shoes versus hiking boots? Hiking shoes win. Okay, next issue? No, really. Hiking or running shoes are better for most backpacking trips, at least during late spring, summer and early fall. Boots are heavy, hot, stinky, and stay wet forever. A pound on your feet is like five on your back (some say six), so three-pound boots leave you much more tired at the end of the day.
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